Are you wondering what to expect when working with a general practice attorney? If so, we at Law RKH | AWM would like to explain a general overview of your client-attorney relationship so you know what to expect.
If you’ve never hired a lawyer before, it is important to understand that when there is a problem, at any firm in the U.S., it usually has to relate to communication, competence, costs, or ethical matters. As soon as you retain a general practice lawyer for your legal matter, you have a right to expect the following:
Communication – Poor, or lack of, communication can have you thinking that your lawyer is not doing their job. This is not necessarily true. A good general practice lawyer should explain a brief overview of your legal situation and let you know what challenges could arise, how they will be dealt with, and when, if ever, the are most likely to occur. Your lawyer should also answer, or respond, to your communication efforts and help you to understand your questions. That said, it is unlikely that your general practice lawyer will call you every day, unless that is necessary. Lawyers are very busy people and spend huge amounts of time of their cases. Rest assured, your lawyer will very likely speak to you when they believe the time is right.
Competence – When you hire a lawyer, there is no guarantee that they will be competent – even if they passed the Bar. If you, by a small chance, retain a lawyer who makes a mistake in your case, and this mistake would not have been made by another competent lawyer, and you lost money because of the mistake, it may be legal malpractice. In this case you might be able to file a claim. To avoid a mess like this, it will be in your best interest to do an online search of general practice lawyers in your area. Find out what others are saying and review the lawyers’ details on the firm’s website and other legal sites.
Ethics – Your general practice lawyer must adhere to a number of legal ethics. You can expect him or her to:
- Represent you with undivided loyalty
- Remain confidential (unless there is a risk of harm to someone else)
- Competently represent you within the bounds of the law
- Put your interests first
If a lawyer violates these ethics, they could be fined, suspended from practicing law, or disbarred.
Fees – Lawyer fees are one of the most common problematic areas. Before you sign a client-attorney agreement, you should make sure that all of the fees are in writing. This is the law in many states and can help you to understand what is expected of you. The agreement should detail when you will be billed and whether the statement will be itemized. If not, as the lawyer to do so.
Once you sign the client-attorney agreement, your general practice lawyer will begin on your case. Remember, to be honest, upfront, and detailed to ensure your general practice lawyer gets you the best possible outcome for your legal matter.